AMHERST (CBS) — Veterans protested Sunday at Hampshire College in Amherst after the school decided to lower, then not to fly the American flag following the presidential election.
The college removed the flag after a post-election incident where the flag was burned by students protesting the election of President-elect Donald Trump.
Officials replaced the flag, but it was lowered again.
Sunday, hundreds of veterans and their supporters gathered at the Hampshire College campus. They want the American flag raised. But the school president said no, because he’s standing by his word.
“I would die for this flag. I fought for it. I live for it. You all live for it,” one veteran said.
Despite the protests, Hampshire College administrators say the flag also stands for the freedom of expression and that’s what they are doing by removing the flag.
“What we want as an outcome is to create a dialogue,” School president Jonathan Lash said.
A group from the Amherst Veterans of Foreign Wars organized the demonstration.
Veterans placed U.S. flags on the streets near the college Sunday, as part of what organizers call a “peaceful demonstration of freedom.”
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno joined the veterans in protest, arguing it’s a matter of respect.
“I wanted to be here to stand with our cherished veterans and ‘old glory.’ it’s because of our veterans and many who have given the ultimate sacrifice and their families that we’re able to lead the lives we lead, because of your efforts. The same goes for Hampshire College. No matter what way you think or not think. It is because of our veterans,” Mayor Sarno said.
Hampshire President Lash told the CBS affiliate in Springfield that the campus flag will remain lowered for the time being and that discussions about what the American flag represents will continue.